On Monday June 11th, the VA rolled out its telehealth services designed to make healthcare more accessible for veterans and Medicare recipients. More specifically, experts anticipate that the increased coverage of telehealth services will result in “better access, better outcomes, increased convenience for patients and their families, the ability to “touch” patients whose location or condition impedes in-person care, and an efficient and cost-effective use of the VA’s limited resources” (HIT Think). While federal laws had previously prevented both the VA and Medicare from incorporating telemedicine into their care plans, the passage of the “Authority of Health Care Providers to Practice Telehealth” has granted both Medicare and VA care plans the ability to incorporate telehealth coverage into their health plans.
Why it’s a big deal:
Not only will the inclusion of telehealth coverage make care more accessible for the approximately 10 million veterans currently enrolled in the VA Healthcare system, but the Medicare component will also grant telemedicine coverage to the 58.5 million Americans currently enrolled in the program. To add to that, from an insurance standpoint the acceptance of telehealth by the federal government helps break with the idea that patients must be seen in brick-and-mortar offices despite the fact not every patient is in condition to make the journey there. This development is yet another example of how technological developments can be used to improve care on the patient end and cut costs on for providers while also strengthens the ties between IT and healthcare and. For related articles, follow us on LinkedIn